Minibus Ramble: South of Hitchin

Another month past, another North Herts Saturday evening “minibus ramble” – which this time took the attendees through the lovely countryside settings of Gosmore, Chapelfoot, St Paul’s Walden and Preston to the south of Hitchin. Evenings like these are our attempt to get out to remote pubs in our branch area that may otherwise have difficulty getting enough NBSS scores to qualify for the Good Beer Guide. Courtesy of Ray, our minibus driver, six intrepid CAMRA members set out on the evening of the 11th of June to visit the pubs shown below.

The first stop: Gosmore with The Bird in Hand and The Bull less than 10 yards apart. Gosmore may be a small village but it seems able to support two pubs stocking cask ales. We started off with Greene King’s Ale Fresco & IPA at “The Bird”. Those new to the pub had the opportunity to see the impressively detailed model of the pub.

The Bird in Hand, Gosmore
The Bird in Hand, Gosmore
Ale Fresco by Greene King
First half pint: Ale Fresco by Greene King at 'The Bird'

A very short walk to The Bull offered us London Pride; the smells from the restaurant side was rather alluring but we still had much ground to cover that evening so of we went!

The Bull, Gosmore
The Bull, Gosmore
Waiting for pints at The Bull
Waiting for pints at The Bull

Driving past the open fields on the edges of St Ippolyts we found ourselves at the recently renovated The Rusty Gun in Chapelfoot. Again, there was only one ale on offer: Rusty Gun from The Old Cannon Brewery. Though as tempting it was to savour the beer by the warm outdoor firepit in the new gardens it was not long that we needed to continue our journey.

Rusty Gun by The Old Cannon
Aptly named beer for the location: Rusty Gun by The Old Cannon Brewery
Firepit at The Rusty Gun
Enjoying a natter by the firepit at The Rusty Gun

The fourth pub visited was The Strathmore Arms in St Paul’s Walden, where all were relieved with the power of choice: the selection I sampled was Alton’s Pride by Triple F Brewery and Sherpa Tenzing – a one off special from Mighty Oak. In addition, there was some time spent on the pub games: bar billiards and darts while some munched on the home-made samosas on offer.

Getting served at The Strathmore Arms
Getting served at The Strathmore Arms
Bar billiards in The Strathmore Arms
Exercising the bar billiards table (and the darts board) in The Strathmore Arms

In the fading light we once again set off to the final pub of the evening: Preston’s Red Lion. The continuation of a hearty discussion regarding hops in the brewing process was enjoyed; I had a pint of Roysteiner by Buntingford while the bar’s other choices included (but were not limited to) London Pride and Brewster’s Decadence.

The Red Lion, Preston
The Red Lion, Preston
Beer and conversation in The Red Lion
Beer and conversation in The Red Lion

We run these trips every month and pick people up in Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth, and Baldock. Non-members are also welcome to join in (slightly pricier than for a member but still much more economical than a taxi for the entire evening). The dates and locations are published ahead of time on the diary section of this website as well as in the CAMRA “What’s Brewing” paper and our local “Pints of View” which can be found in most real ale pubs in our region. The bus only seats 11 people – so if you want to come on a ramble do get in touch well ahead of time!

Here’s a gallery of what we got up to that evening:

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